Interest in e-bikes soars as Edmontonians resume daily commutes

For the third year in a row, bike shops in and around Edmonton are teeming with customers hoping to get out there this summer.

But unlike two years ago at the start of the pandemic, many customers this year are looking for a new way to get to work.

Paul Burgess owns Mud Sweat and Gears bike shops and said they sell a lot of battery-powered e-bikes.

“A lot of people are interested in e-bikes for commuting,” Burgess said in an interview this week.

“Having that assist so they’re not all sweaty when they get to work, but they can still cover a lot of ground quickly.”

Paying $2,500 or more for an e-bike might seem like a lot, but with rising gas prices, many customers are seeing the benefits.

Paul Burgess, the owner of bike shops Mud Sweat and Gears, is preparing a bike for the summer season. (Emily Fitzpatrick/CBC)

“You can get an e-bike now for a few thousand dollars. And that’s a few tanks of gas these days, and you might have paid for that investment,” Burgess said.

“So, you know, people are looking for [at e-bikes] as an alternative way to get to work.”

A report by Triton Market Research, released last summer, said e-bikes are gaining popularity in major Canadian cities like Toronto.

The report predicts that the North American e-bike market will grow by more than 10% per year between 2021 and 2028.

In Canada, some of the growth factors for e-bike sales include growing demand among retirees and growing demand for recreational activities, according to the report.

Archie Caraang is part of the e-bike trend.

He tried to buy one last year, but it sold out, so he bought a scooter instead.

This year he deliberately went shopping before the bike season kicked into high gear.

“You just want to ride a scooter somewhere or you want to ride an e-bike somewhere. We can’t even drive anymore, it’s so expensive,” Caraang said.

WATCH | How to prepare your bike to ride:

How to prepare your bike for spring

Hoping to skip the range of bike settings this year? Here’s expert Paul Burgess with the basic checks and fixes you can perform at home without specialized tools or training. 1:41

After a busy few weekends, Burgess expects sales at its bike shops to increase even more as the days warm up and the snow clears.

But it’s not just e-bikes. Burgess said its stores are currently booking tune-ups weeks in advance. He said some customers are gearing up to pedal to work, while others are pulling long-ignored bikes out of their garages.

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